The Green Man Festival

Green Man Festival 2013 - Live Review

That the most telling testament to the wonderful experience that was Green Man Festival 2013 comes not from the musical treats in store (which were myriad) but the sheer pleasure of the company present says much about the atmosphere and harmony surrounding the event. Having had over ten years to develop its own niche and cliental, the first and most striking thing to say as a Green Man virgin was just how delightful and friendly the entire crowd was over the weekend. Too often to recall, simply standing next to people during gigs resulted in sharing of names, handshakes, smiles and promises to catch up later on - so different from the aggression and caution-filled experiences of other UK festivals. From dancing in the Walled Garden at 4am on the Saturday to making new friends through quoting Arrested Development on the Ferris Wheel, I can honestly say that I've never met so many kind, genuine and friendly people at any UK festival. And that includes the organisers and PR team too. A big round of applause is due to all involved with 2013's event - you were amazing!

Green Man Festival 2013 - Live Review

But onto the music itself and arriving on Thursday afternoon to a swirling mixture of sunny skies and sideways rain, it's straight to the Far Out Stage to catch our early fill of bands. And while We Are Animal's fuzzed-up guitar and relentless drum grooves gather the legs into attention, it's M O N E Y's outstanding set that provides the first highlight of the weekend. Channelling the sadly-lost heavy atmospherics and spiritual overtones of WU LYF through a heavy, drone-laden filter of early Verve, they have a remarkable sound that manages to beguile the senses and incite emotions at the same time. One of the genuine breakout bands of 2013, they'll be omnipresent everywhere in 2014 - mark my words.

Although Patti Smith is more standard fare and generally plays things on the safer side, her performance still carries the statuesque presence of a legend. Opening with 'Dancing Barefoot', she still carries the gravitas and languid style of someone who has seen and done it all, with an underplayed acoustic band that includes the ever-excellent Patrick Wolf playing harp, violin and anything else required. 'Because The Night' inspires a mass sing-along and 'Pissing in a River' receives unanimous cheers from the packed crowd. We even get a cover of Eddie Cochrane's 'Summertime Blues' and John Lennon's 'Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)' before we're all sent happily to bed knowing we've seen one of the genuine greats of all time.

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Green Man Festival 2013 Preview

Now into its sixth year, The Green Man Festival has been slowly and assuredly building its reputation as possessing one of the most unique, wide-ranging and eclectic bills on the festival calendar, and one of the best atmospheres going. But even by their normal standards, they've pulled a monster of a bill out for 2013's event - a bill that quite frankly knocks the spots of the vast majority of summer 2013's festivals. Maybe even all of them. Contactmusic will be heading down to Wales in August so with just over two months to go, we thought we'd take a look at one of the summer's most eagerly anticipated events.

Green Man Festival 2013 Preview

Taking place this year between Thursday 15th August and Sunday 18th August, Green Man Festival is set in Glanusk, the middle of the Black Mountain, amidst the beautiful countryside of the Brecon Beacons. Fiercely devoted to being independent, family-orientated and intimate, the festival strives to provide a unique and varied experience for visitors of all ages, with a special focus on making the event family-accessible. This wide-ranging approach has seen the event named "Best Grass Roots Festival" last year at the UK Festival Awards, to follow on from their "Best Medium Sized Festival Award" in 2010.

But we'd be banking on Green Man clearing some space on their mantelpiece come the end of the year, because the line-up for 2013 is simply staggering, and shining with quality in every direction. As part of Thursday's entertainment, the festival welcomes an unquestionable legend in Patti Smith - the high priestess of punk - who headlines the Far Out Tent alongside Matt Berry, John Langford and Money. Always renowned for her incendiary and high-octane live shows, it's a chance to see one of the most influential female artists of all time grace the stage.

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